Back to our return from the Bahamas and the next phase of our travels. I have some catching up to do on this blog.
We left Fort Pierce on Sunday, March 6th, heading north on the ICW to Vero Beach. Ahhh, the ICW…… What can I say?? This is not the beautiful clear blue water of the Bahamas. We admit we have been spoiled and we miss the Bahamian blues. Sooooo much.
Vero Beach is one of the best places for a cruiser to stop and regroup. As many of us know, some cruisers stop here, regroup, and get stuck, hence the nickname “Velcro Beach.” Some are held fast for just the winter, and some return forever. We know of boats that have waited so long for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream, that they just never left, especially this year; it was a tough one for crossings. The cruisers who return to Vero and put roots down into the dirt are called “CLODS” = Cruisers Living On Dirt. They have formed their own informal club, meeting for breakfast once each week and hosting a potluck Thanksgiving dinner for cruisers. On this visit I learned that Vero has another name in addition to “Velcro Beach” – “Zero Beach”. Evidently because there is nothing to do for younger people. I guess it all depends on your perspective. Some folks love it, some don’t. Same as every book, movie, or restaurant review that I’ve ever read. Although Vero Beach is a favorite stop for us, we won’t ever become velcro’d. Not this girl. After 30 years in CT, I’m a New Englander.
Why is the Vero Beach City Marina such a popular place for cruisers to stop on their way south and on the way north?
- Inexpensive moorings (They get less expensive per night the longer you stay – part of the velcro?)
- Only a few blocks from the beach (Even better is a short dinghy ride to tiny spot to tie our dinghy and walk across the street to the park and beach access.)
- The GoLine bus transportation – FREE (Every cruiser loves and needs transportation for provisioning and shopping, and free is the best!)
- Easy car rental (usually easy until this time)
- Free internet (Better than the Bahamas, but not quite up to land life’s speed, even with the wirie booster.)
- Decent laundry and showers (Another cruising must have.)
- Enough places to explore during a visit, with ice cream and restaurants.
- Lots of other boaters to meet.
During our Gulf Stream crossing, we made a bet with each other. “Will there be any boats that we know at Vero when we arrive?” Al said no and I said yes. Those were very arbitrary calls, because neither of us felt strongly one way or the other – we were just bored at that point of the crossing. Upon arrival in Vero Beach, it appeared that Al won the bet. I’m a good loser, but the next day, I became the winner. While waiting in line for the GoLine bus, my eyes looked up and recognized Joan and Whit, another Shennecossett Yacht Club couple!! They had reached Vero on their Irwin, Sweet Liberty, in January, but the weather kept them velcro’d to Vero. That’s ok, there are many far worse places to be stuck.
The most important thing we have done while in Vero is to leave. Leave the boat and fly home for a visit to see family. It was a 4-states in 8 days whirlwind trip. I just knew I couldn’t wait 6-8 more weeks to see our family. We flew into Philadelphia (on Frontier – never again. That would be a story for a different type of blog.) Rented a car to visit my parents and sisters. From there we drove to Queens, NY to spend the day with Ryan, Kerri and Caleb. Headed north to Connecticut to our house to wade through 4 months of accumulated mail, my oncology check-up, and a professional hair cut for me. Visited Adam & Steph in Avon, and then drove back to Pennsylvania to see my parents and visit with Alicia, Shawn, Aaron and Ella. After our return from the north, we rented a car and drove across Florida to visit with Al’s mother.
Below are just a few memories of our time with family and friends during the 8 days. I didn’t even take my camera and have only a few photos from my iPhone –Too busy talking and hugging.
After covering the miles by plane, by rental car, by shuttle bus, and finally an Uber ride, we arrived back at Vero Beach City Marina.While we were away, Cutting Class crossed back from the Bahamas and joined us on our mooring here.
The remainder of our time in Vero was a blitz of provisioning and chores in preparation for the trek northward. Trips to Home Depot, Walmart, West Marine, and Publix were made easier with a rental car. Systems were checked, levels of water and fuel inspected, and lots of laundry was washed, dried and folded and provisions wee tucked away. Instead of cleaning salt off of the fiberglass we discovered that we were wiping up pollen dust.
Our final day in Vero Beach was both Easter Sunday and Al’s birthday. Although the sky was mostly overcast, it was warm and humid enough to venture one more time to the beach, by dinghy. It wasn’t the nicest day, but it wasn’t the worst either. Dan and I both went for a swim in the water.
- Temperature = very nice, didn’t even flinch.
- Clarity = sand swirling in the surf and nothing like the Bahamas. Not even close.
- Waves = a little too rough for me, waves came from different directions with a strong undertow.
- Conclusion = Worth doing for 20 minutes! Especially since it will be the last swim for awhile, for me. (Not Dan!)
We were very happy to celebrate the double specialness of the day with Marcia and Dan on Cutting Class. The birthday dinner was expanded to include both of them, Dan recently had another birthday and Marcia’s is coming up shortly.
Twenty-two days in Vero for Kindred Spirit, but Al and I are only here for 12 of them. It’s time to begin the journey homeward, and we are very ready to move on again. This will be a first for us – traveling north by boat. Remember that in 2013-2014, we left our Morgan 43 sailboat in Stuart, FL where she acquired new owners. I made sure that didn’t happen again – this boat is going home with us!